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MIS Systems Thread, SIMS ZIS Agent in Technical; I'm trying to find out if there is definitely is a SIMS.net ZIS Agent that is available without having to ...
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    penfold_99's Avatar
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    SIMS ZIS Agent

    I'm trying to find out if there is definitely is a SIMS.net ZIS Agent that is available without having to purchase partnership xchange?

    I have found OpenSADK library to interface with the ZIS, i would prefer to use OpenZIS as partnership Xchange is about £5000.

    Can anyone shed any light? Phil Neal perhaps?

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    Ian_ICTDS's Avatar
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    Hi,

    There is defiantly not a SIF agent for SIMS .net yet. Partnership Exchange uses an enhanced version of SIF so any agents it uses would not work with any other ZIS.

    Iím sure Capita will make one once SIF is given a definite green light. Iíve not heard any dates from Capita but another of our providers has said 12 months at the earliest before they make a SIF agent for their software because the future of SIF is still unclear.

    At the moment Partnership Exchange is the best solution available for distributing data around sites particularly for the 14-19 agenda. Iíve not seen the web interface yet but that would just seal the deal. In my opinion itís well worth the cost.

    Ian.

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    penfold_99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian_ICTDS View Post
    There is defiantly not a SIF agent for SIMS .net yet. Partnership Exchange uses an enhanced version of SIF so any agents it uses would not work with any other ZIS.
    Sounds like the office open and open office document standard happening all over again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian_ICTDS View Post
    Iím sure Capita will make one once SIF is given a definite green light. Iíve not heard any dates from Capita but another of our providers has said 12 months at the earliest before they make a SIF agent for their software because the future of SIF is still unclear.
    Capita should have built on to the defined standard as it is now before going off on a tangent!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian_ICTDS View Post
    At the moment Partnership Exchange is the best solution available for distributing data around sites particularly for the 14-19 agenda. Iíve not seen the web interface yet but that would just seal the deal. In my opinion itís well worth the cost.
    well £5000 just to allow you to properly integrate internal system using a common dataset is a lot of money.

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    £5k is cheap if you think about the extra admin work need if you didn't have it.

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    Partnership XChange would pass a SIF test (if there was one). However we have, as is permitted under SIF, included some extra tags that make it possible for schools to decide who they share data with. Plain SIF does not deal with many many issues - like a school granting permission for another school to see a data record. Imagine SIF broadcasting your bank account details to anyone that is listening.

    We have been commissioned to produce a SIF agent that can be used to provision AD entries by another piece of software.

    If you look on the SIFA site they detail how much SIF will cost schools and LAs ££££££££££££. Until the issue of funding is cleared I can't see SIF being adopted by LAs.

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    I've got to both agree and disagree with you there Phil.

    I do believe that LAs and RBCs will do some more work on this after the POC work on Birmingham and NI. I do believe that RBCs as Regional IdPs for Shibboleth had the same issues but we are starting to see more stuff come online for that. Within EMBC we have seen the Edina Education Image Gallery and Education City come online, with work being done with Brittanica and LP+ amongst others.

    There is also the matter that for some LAs there is the issue that a ZIS also give Council IT Teams real access into parents and can help to make sure *they* have access to information too ... not just the education stuff, but health, welfare, etc ... That is a project and a half ... and getting SIF right can be a big bonus there.

    The issue is with the services providers (VLE providers, data analysis providers) and getting *them* to produce SIF agents to work with a ZIS. Right now there is Partnership Xchange (which uses an extended SIF agent to get information to and from it) and it is often easier for these companies to buy in (or continue to use) your Business Objects Model. It is tried and tested ... no fuss. *That* is where the real battle is going to be.

    It would be helped if schools that are using SIF for internal only work could run something like OpenZIS and get a SIF agent to connect to SIMS and then build their own SIF agents to push into Moodle and the like. Do you think that a version of the SIF agent that works with Parntership Xchange could be trimmed back down not to use the extensions and thereby used with OpenZIS?

    I have repeated that people interested in this work really do need to work with SIFA UK and Becta though ... @penfold_99 it might be better to take some of this conversation over that way and then come back once there is more information

  7. 2 Thanks to GrumbleDook:

    dhicks (24th July 2009), penfold_99 (22nd July 2009)

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    I think they're reinventing the wheel, like GrumbleDook said,

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
    often easier for these companies to buy in (or continue to use) your Business Objects Model. It is tried and tested ... no fuss.
    Surely Capita opening it up a bit would be better, saying that, it's pretty open now. I've not heard of any real API for other MIS systems (~waits to be corrected~).

    Side note, like the idea of Shibboleth, just IMO not v.well executed.

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    Groupcall offer a SIF Agent for SIMS and CMIS which has been adopted by Birmingham and the South West Grid for Learning.

    For more information, contact Groupcall.

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LawrenceRoyston View Post
    Groupcall offer a SIF Agent for SIMS and CMIS which has been adopted by Birmingham and the South West Grid for Learning.

    For more information, contact Groupcall.

    ...using Capita business objects. Does really echo my previous comment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LawrenceRoyston View Post
    Groupcall offer a SIF Agent for SIMS and CMIS which has been adopted by Birmingham and the South West Grid for Learning.

    For more information, contact Groupcall.
    Will it integrate with OpenZIS? and what is the cost?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LawrenceRoyston View Post
    Groupcall offer a SIF Agent for SIMS and CMIS which has been adopted by Birmingham and the South West Grid for Learning.

    For more information, contact Groupcall.
    Gan the GroupCall agent read and write into SIMS do you know?

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    An open interface is important - I can see the need to extend the standard to allow acces control, but I'd like to see a push to have that as part of the SIF rather than a "we've already done it our way - would you like to be a partner?" approach. At the moment, linking schools means a requirement for a common platform. This is good for business, but reduces choice and is directly counter to the overall aim of a common, open interchange framework.

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    Rather Capita just started an open source project and put the business objects into that rather then repeating the work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Rather Capita just started an open source project and put the business objects into that rather then repeating the work.
    SIF/ZIS is a better alternative to business objects,

    Capita's issue would be why would companies partner with them when they could just become a member of SIF UK?

    Joining SIF UK would allow companies to integration there product with SIF/ZIS, (which would then in turn talk to any compatible MIS) instead of writing an integration process of each MIS.

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    Back to OpenZIS, Iíve just been reading up on it. Looks like it is designed to only pull data from agents and not push it back. Might be useful for an authority that wants to collect a load of data from schools but not much use for real interoperability.

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